Port Charlotte men accused of stealing over $40k in fishing gear

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PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. - Authorities say they have arrested two men for stealing over $40,000 worth of fishing equipment and recovered much of the merchandise.

59-year-old Mario Colaluca and 44-year-old Robert Wombolt have been arrested on charges of burglarizing Fishin’ Frank’s Bait and Tackle Shop early Thursday morning.

At about 4am Thursday, deputies were called to investigate the burglary the store, located at 4425 Tamiami Trail in Port Charlotte. Detectives reviewed security video that showed a white Toyota Camry pull up in front of the business and a man with a distinct limp wearing dark colored shoes with white soles approached the business.

The interior video showed that the air conditioner was pushed into the business and a man with a limp wearing the same shoes climbed through the opening. The man made several trips through the opening while removing an estimated $40,000 to $60,000 worth of fishing equipment.

A detectives recognized the man with a limp as Colaluca.  Within minutes of Fishin’ Franks posting the video to their Facebook page, there were several anonymous calls that also identified the person in the video as Colaluca.

Detectives located him at his residence and he agreed to speak with them at a local office. Other detectives returned to the residence and spoke with the home’s primary resident who gave them permission to search the house. They located a new fishing rod and reel, still wrapped in plastic with bar code stickers on them.

Another tip received by detectives lead them to speak with a woman who identified the vehicle in the video as being her car. She said she had loaned the vehicle to Wombolt.

Colaluca and Wombolt were both arrested and transported to the Charlotte County Jail. They were both charged with Burglary of an Unoccupied Structure and Second Degree Grand Theft. Wombolt was also charged with Violation of Probation. Colaluca was being held on $7,500 bond. Wombolt is being held without bond.

Yet another tip sent detectives to a wooded location in the Murdock area, where a crew located more fishing equipment. The detectives, who have been working almost non-stop on the case since it was first reported yesterday, estimate they have recovered about 80% of the stolen property.

The investigation into the case is still on-going as they look for more of the stolen property.

Anyone with information about this case is asked to call the Sheriff’s Office at (941) 639-2101, or Crime Stoppers at 800-780-TIPS (8477).